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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain


National News

Woolwich Ferry staff to strike for two days

by New Worker correspondent

Woolwich Ferry in East London, which is used by an estimated 2.6 million passengers each year, are to stage two 24-hour strikes in a continuing pay dispute with “one of the worst employers in London”.

The 56 Unite members already held a one-day strike on 19th December after a unanimous vote for strike action. They say there is a long history of poor managerial practice by the company.

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LT workers protest over privatised cleaners’ conditions

TUBE union RMT workers protested on Wednesday outside the Houses of Parliament as a new report is published on the scandal of privatised cleaning on London Underground. The report, Dirty Work: ABM and the outsourcing of London’s Underground, shines a light on the unknown world of the 2000 workers who keep the Underground clean and hygienic for the two million passengers who use it every day.

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Transport for London workers to strike over paltry pay

by New Worker correspondent

LONDONERS are facing travel disruption as essential workers employed by Transport for London (TfL) prepare for the first of a series of 24-hour strikes, beginning on Friday 31st January in a dispute over low pay.

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Bexley refuse workers protest at council meeting

by New Worker correspondent

OVER 100 refuse workers in the London borough of Bexley protested on Monday evening outside the local council cabinet meeting, over low wages and a bullying culture by the giant contractor Serco. The workers are earning about £4 per hour less than their counterparts in neighbouring Greenwich.

The Unite union regional officer Ruth Hydon said: “Our members do a physically exhausting job working long and unsocial hours. They have to work when they are sick or face being unable to pay their bills and, on top of that, they are bullied by managers. Enough is enough.

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Manual workers at Foreign Office to down tools

by New Worker correspondent

FACILITIES management workers who are working for the company Interserve at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have served notice for a month of strike action in February.

The PCS union members have been in dispute with Interserve since March 2019, although 18 days of strike action so far have won some concessions Interserve have refused to budge on key issues such as union recognition, a buy-out of contractual pay changes and full sick pay for all staff.

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Cute Puppies at Risk

by New Worker correspondent

WORKERS who rescue cute puppies from fur coat makers at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) have voted overwhelmingly in a consultative ballot to reject the management’s arbitrary imposition of new ‘performance pay’ contracts.

Around 700 staff (out of a 1,700 workforce) are represented by Unite. The union claims that management’s proposals to replace the recently negotiated incremental pay scheme with a performance pay arrangement will make things worse in an organisation where bullying has been endemic.

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No Drynuary in Scotland

by our Scottish political correspondent

Minimum pricing (MUP) on alcohol has been in force in Scotland since May 2018 . A new report for NHS Scotland has demonstrated just how successful it has been. It reports that there has been a drop in sales of pure alcohol from 7.4 to 7.1 litres per adult. The reduced figure is still the equivalent of 27 bottles of vodka. The reduction accounts to about one pint of beer per month. The main feature of the fall was an 18.6 per cent drop in the sales of the sort of cheap high-strength ciders that have never been near an apple. But it is also clear that the main beneficiaries are the Benedictine monks at the Devonshire Abbey of Buckfast, whose famous fortified tonic wine has seen a compensatory rise in sales of 16.4 per cent.

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Ferry Long Saga

by our Scottish political correspondent

The long-running Highland ferries scandal is rumbling on.

As a result of an inquiry at Holyrood (long resisted by the SNP), it has been revealed that the long-delayed and over-budget ships (by three years and £100 million) are only half built, and that 95 per cent of the design has not been agreed with the government agency that commissioned the work. Even more incredibly, it has been revealed that the shipyard chosen for the work, Ferguson Marine in Port Glasgow, Renfrewshire, was never set up to work on two large vessels side-by-side.

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Hello and Farewell

by our Scottish political correspondent

On Tuesday Scotland acquired a new parliamentarian — but there is only just time to welcome her before she gets made redundant. For Heather Anderson only took up the job on Tuesday, when an incumbent SNP MEP resigned from the Brussels ‘parliament’ because he had become a member of the Mother of Parliaments. Anderson, a Borders councillor, being the highest unelected name on the SNP list at the last European Union (EU) elections, thus became a contender for an entry in the Guinness Book of Records for the briefest parliamentary career.

Analysing Labour

by New Worker correspondent

MEMBERS of the New Communist Party (NCP), Socialist fight, Posadists in Britain and Second Wave Publications, met last Thursday at the Cock Tavern in Euston for an informal discussion about the 2019 election.

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Marx Memorial Library flood appeal

£37,500 raised, £12,500 to go. Can you help?

ON 24 September 2019 the Marx Memorial Library (MML) suffered a devastating flood. Problems with our flat roof and drainage system meant water gushed through our storerooms. Thanks to a collective effort — MML staff, volunteers, trustees, the fire brigade and Islington Heritage — we avoided major damage to our collections.

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International News

Jewish Settlers torch Mosque

Communist Party of Israel

SETTLERS desecrated and torched a mosque last Friday in the village of Beit Safafa, southwest of Jerusalem. A group of Jewish settlers clandestinely entered the village before dawn, sprayed racist slogans on the walls of the Al-Badriya Mosque and then set fire to the building, partially damaging it.

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Gramna

ASELA de los Santos Tamayo, a prominent Cuban revolutionary, considered a founder of Cuba’s emancipatory education, died early on 23rd January at the age of 90.

She was born on 10th September, 1929 in the city of Santiago de Cuba. At a very young age she joined student struggles at the University of Oriente, where she graduated with a PhD in Pedagogy and met Vilma Espín, a life-long friend and comrade.

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Namibian workers fight back

People’s Dispatch

THE state-owned August 26 Holdings is planning to shut down one of its subsidiaries on the grounds that a theft of $1.76 million has caused financial stress. Instead, the union has demanded a halt to the retrenchment plan.

The Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (NFAWU) has taken a stand against the planned retrenchment of 86 workers employed in a textile and garment factory owned by August 26 Holdings Limited, a state-owned enterprise. Shares of this company are held by the ministry of defence on behalf of the government of Namibia.

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The Fat Ladies sing again

ONE of the unsung aspects of the recent widespread protests against the French right-wing government’s pension reforms was the fact that singers and dancers at the prestigious Paris Opera had been on strike. They were amongst many other public service workers who have been on strike opposing government plans to scrap more than 40 separate pension schemes and replace them with a single points-based system.

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Australia’s bushfires: catastrophic failure to govern

by Anna Pha

THE CATASTROPHIC nature of the bush fires in all likelihood could have been prevented or been less severe if governments had listened to scientists and acted on their advice. Instead, funding was cut to the very organisations that are critical to our understanding of bush fires and climate change, and the preventative action that could and should have been taken.

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Western audiences show growing interest in films on Nazi collaborators

Sputnik

WESTERN movie audiences have shown a growing interest in the topic of fighting Nazism and exposing Nazi collaborators, Russian film producer Ilnur Rafikov said.

Rafikov is screening his latest documentary about Nazi collaborators at the Russian Cultural Center in Washington this week.

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Features

Rewriting History

Sputnik

ON MONDAY, in the Polish town of Oswiecim, 200 former inmates and numerous foreign dignitaries attended a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp by Soviet Red Army troops.

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China’s virus response shows what’s possible when people come before profits

by CJ Atkins

(Writing from Singapore on the 26th January, 2020)

THE USUALLY celebratory atmosphere of Lunar New Year was markedly more subdued across Asia this weekend as government officials in China fought to contain the outbreak of a deadly new coronavirus that has, as of this writing, infected nearly 2,700 and taken the lives of more than 80. Unprecedented efforts are being made to halt the spread of the pneumonia-like respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, which is believed to have originated in a seafood market where illegal wildlife meat was sold.

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India’s shameful record on wealth inequality

by Prabhat Patnaik

WEALTH data are quite unreliable; and wealth distribution data even more so. Not much faith can be reposed on the absolute figures; but cross-country comparisons, and also movements in the shares of the top decile or percentile of the population over time in any country, are less likely to be affected by the infirmity of the absolute figures.

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